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The Roberts Trap is Sprung

By:  Bill Dunne
One of the most overlooked aspects of the year just ended is the vindication of Chief Justice John Roberts -- a vindication that showed up as the national catastrophe known as ObamaCare got rolling.  Roberts may have also doomed Hillary Clinton's chance to live in the White House again... click here to read whole editorial


Fort Fairfield Extends Commercial Wind Power Moratorium Ordinance


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, April 1, 2015


   Last Fall the Fort Fairfield town council approved an ordinance for a 180 day moratorium on the construction and installation of commercial wind generators in Fort Fairfield, pending a draft ordinance regulating wind generators by the newly formed Wind Power Technical Review Committee.  That ordinance is set to expire on April 13, 2015.  Under Maine law the town council can extend the moratorium another 180 days without going through the ordinance process again.

   The Wind Power Technical Review Committee recently requested of the council that they extend the moratorium ordinance for the entire 180 days to give them more time to work out the details in the draft ordinance to regulate the wind generators in town. 

   “It's a technical quagmire, really.  There's a lot of information that we need to filter through,” said Tim Goff, who sits on the committee.  “The committee's done a lot of initial heavy lifting but right now we're into the real throw of the issue which is sound, setback, ice throw, safety and ultimately decommissioning, funding and those sorts of things.  As we've gone through the process we've kind of drafted and crafted an ordinance with the knowledge that we'll come back and kind of revisit it and really hammer out all the details.” 

But it's the details that the committee is having trouble with.  “There are parts that are hard to get information on that you can really trust because the manufacturers say one thing, studies by people that are really anti-wind say others. Obviously, the truth probably lies somewhere in between and it's really tough to decipher that.  There's not a lot of independent study of a lot of the sound issues, especially when it comes to what low end sound can do to folks rather than just the noise and irritation components of it.” 

    Goff said it's the committee's feeling that they would ask the council to extend that moratorium for the additional 180 days.  “We just feel like there's a lot more work to be done.  Unfortunately I don't think we'll ever get it completely right for everybody.  It's a bell curve.  Hopefully, we hit a lot of the middle ground.”

   At the March town council meeting, Sue LeVasseur offered a motion to extend the moratorium for another 180 days, it was seconded by Bob Kilcollins. 

   Jason Barnes, town council chairman, said during the discussion of the extension that he wondered if giving the whole 180 days will be beneficial to the process.  “I'm kind of disappointed that they couldn't do it in 180 days and from the updates that we've gotten, it seems a consistent struggle with the few issues that are tough issues - granted - but I question where we're going to be in another 180 days,” said Barnes.  “I feel like we ought to put a little more pressure on them for performance on this.”

   “I think the people who are working on it are working very hard to move the process forward,” said town manager, Mike Bosse.  “It is a difficult process.  It does seem very trying to move it forward.”

   Town councilman, John Herold gave an old fashioned mechanic's view of  the wind power ordinance;  “You can have it good, or you can have it fast, pick one.”

   Ultimately, the council voted unanimously to extend the moratorium for 180 more days.  Only one extension for moratoriums is allowed under Maine law.  After that time, if the Technical Review Committee hasn't come up with a draft ordinance regulating commercial wind power another ordinance process would have to be undertaken if the council wishes to further extend the moratorium.

   Public comments and suggestions to the Technical Review Committee can be posted at the town's website, or in writing at the town office.


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